Saturday, September 3, 2016


Welcome to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT. This week we take a look at some political satire from 1976...THE SELLING OF VINCE D'ANGELO.

Howdy fellow film freaks, Robert here. In case you didn't notice (and if you didn't, may I welcome you to the planet Earth), America is rushing pell-mell toward another Presidential election, and it's going about as well as we've learned to expect. The American political system is an awesome and terrible thing, and deserves to be satirized. The Selling of Vince D'Angelo, a comedic short directed by and starring Danny DeVito (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), chronicles the rise and fall of a concrete mogul who enters the race for New Jersey senator. Through a series of manipulations, fabrications, outright lies, dirty tricks and backroom dealings he runs a most crooked campaign, which of course succeeds, although he does get his in the end.

This film has resurfaced lately, not only because of the election year, but also because the character of Vince D'Angelo may remind viewers of a certain other businessman currently seeking political office. That connection is obvious. But the idea of the crooked politician is not unique to 2016, and the tricks D'Angelo uses to discredit his opponents and win votes have been used by politicians during campaigns for decades if not centuries. This film is mocking the farce of political campaigns, not any one campaigner.

Taken at face value, The Selling of Vince D'Angelo still works as a satire, although forty years of ever-shadier shenanigans by real politicians great and small have stripped some of the humor out of the film's various vignettes. I found it hard to find humor in Vince pretending to be a veteran when giving a speech to a veteran's gathering, or pretending to be Jewish when speaking at a synagogue. His first serious campaign commercial, though, which is embedded below because I couldn't find an actual trailer, carries such a blatantly manipulative "for the children" message that you have to laugh at its sheer moxie. The film shows it's age, but it's topic is still timely. Not all the bloom is off this rose quite yet.

The Selling of Vince D'Angelo can be viewed on

Robert's Score: 6/10

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